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on September 4, 2017
It took a couple of weeks for this radio to arrive. Charged up fine when I first got it. Used the radio for 3 days. Charged it up a 2nd time and worked for 3 days, no problem. Charged it up for the third time, charger died. Charger base works but the 10 volt power supply stopped working. Baofeng warranty requires returning the item to authorized seller or repair center. So you have to send the whole radio back with packaging and original invoice, and maybe you get YOUR radio back or you get a refurbished one, or you get a new radio. Since I only have $25 into this, shipping it would cost half of what I paid for it. Useless warranty actually. That said, the radio works great when coupled with an original Nagoya NA-771 antenna. Stubby that comes with it has terrible losses, so you might as well order an NA-771 antenna. The stubbie does work great when placed atop a mini UHF adapter and mated up with RG59 with an air wound 1:1 choke/balun about 14" wound around a 6" in form and then raise it 10 to 15 feet in the air and you have a nice antenna. On the radio itself the stubbie stinks. The NA-771 appears to have been made for this radio so its a good fit.

Now on for the rest. Programming is great when using CHIRP but you need a cable for it. Order OEM Baofeng and you won't be disappointed. Order from someone in mainland China who says its OEM Baofeng and you may or may not get OEM. I got a knock off which required so much work that I ended up buying OEM and having it shipped priority. The knock off is a 10 year old version of the chipset and the UV5R uses a modern chipset that downloads the drivers automatically without further install of driver software.

The radio performs well, expect that you will put 4 watts out ONLY if you have an adequate groundplane. Your arm is not an adequate groundplane so figure keep it on high power and using it handheld will get you about 1 to 1.5 watts out. Maybe 2. Hits repeaters well on VHF, iffy on UHF depending on distance, line of sight, and what's between you and the repeater. Simplex works, but you will maybe get 25 miles with nothing between you and the other unit. Maybe. Not a shoe in. Works good with mobile antennas, and Nagoya makes one for this unit that matches it well.

All in all, don't count on the charger. There are numerous complains about it bouncing around the net. Mostly the biggest complaint is it needs 10 volts into the cradle to charge it. You can purchase step up USB cables and step-down cigarette lighter plug adapters on eBay just be prepared to wait.

Also, go for the BL-5L 3800 mah battery. It will give you double the life. All in all for $25 the radio is worth it but the charger is junk.
1 helpful vote
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on November 17, 2017
Love the radio. Works like a champ.... However this thing losses stars for the following
1) The accompanying cd is garbage.. I tried installing it and it is in Chinese and would not load anything at all, So not quite sure what is on my computer now. I understand now I have to use a 3rd party program to be able to program the radio. Its called "CHIRP"
2) the programming cable that come with it... Oh wait. it didn't come with it...

Baofeng... You have an awesome product. Package the right accessories with it!!!!
1 helpful vote
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on August 5, 2013
Been a ham operator for 36 years and have seen and used all sorts of radios. This one is really good for the price.
Really can not believe they are so cheap in price.

Radio has some of the loudest receive audio in an HT then I have ever heard. Audio output is 1000mW which equals 1 watt. Transmit audio is clear and crisp. Radio for me was easy to program, granted you should do some reading in advance and use appropriate cable drivers and software. I preferred to use "Chirp" software as it is less troublesome then BaoFengs own software.
I had ready programmed by second day of use. Programmed in many ham repeaters and local fire and police frequencies. Through the software, I was able to program alpha tags for each frequency in memory. You can program up to seven alphanumeric names per memory channel. Through software, I programmed all ham repeaters to be skipped when I am in scan mode. This enabled me to only scan my local police and fire frequencies. My computer is using Windows 7 Professional software.

The cable I used was Baofeng Programming Cable for BAOFENG UV-5R/5RA/5R Plus/5RE, UV3R Plus, BF-888S (Newest Version, Support WIN7,64 Bit). B00CP0I474
This one is the one made by BaeFeng with proper Prolific chip in cable. Others might have issues with counterfeit Prolific chip in cable. I did not want to take a chance with cheaper cable, so I bought the one I just mentioned.

Make sure you use correct Prolific chip driver. I used Prolific PL-2303 Drivers 3.2.0.0
System Requires 32 / 64 bit Windows Vista / 7 / 8. Check out [...]

These sites have lots of great info:

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Hope this helps all who are thinking about this radio. It has exceeded my expectations.

PS. Also has FM radio built in....works well.
127 helpful votes
128 helpful votes
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on February 27, 2017
I have bought a lot of these radios. They are a great little two meter radio. I use them to scan local police chatter and they work well. They are not the fastest scanning radio but if you don't put a lot of channels in, it works well. I would certainly recommend anyone buying a radio to buy a programming cable as well. It makes programming multiple channels a breeze. They have been very durable for me and I have dropped mine many times. Battery life is great. If you don't transmit a lot, you are good for the day on a charge. I have worked stations on the satellite SO-50 with just the stock antenna. They are a great starter radio and for the price they can't be beat!
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on September 16, 2015
I know these get a lot of mixed reviews and mostly about how hard they are to program.

Those other reviews only inspired me to learn how to manually program this!

Along with learning how to manually program the radio, I learned how to modify the charger base for extending the external power supply for a variety of voltages.

The instruction manual that comes with this is pretty much garbage, however, there are multiple manuals online and my favorite was a list of the menu options, what they are, how they work and what settings should be set for HAM radio use.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on June 1, 2013
I have a wouxon, a puxing and an earlier Baofeng. This is tied with the Wouxon (and I have the pricier Wouxon, legal for commercial and amateur). Much better than the earlier Baofeng. Many of the hams on our local repeater are using this Baofeng, and they work great. The audio sounds as good as their pricey "name brand" mobile radios, seriously. There is one guy I talk to regularly, and I can't tell if he is on his icom mobile or the Baofeng. Assuming he is close enough for the 5 watts to reach.

This really is a fantastic deal, and all hams who use VHF/UHF should have one! Of course the manual is really hard to use. There are sites on the net with English as a first language explanations. Also, it goes without saying that you should use the programming software to program this rig. Makes it much easier, even though the software is also hard to understand. But it works. Buy the correct USB cable. Don't skimp on the ones with the fake prolific chip, you will have driver woes forever.

For those just browsing, please remember this is an amateur radio, and you do need an FCC license! This not a replacement for a "family radio". Search for FRS if that is what you are looking for!
1 helpful vote
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on October 17, 2016
This is a great little radio. I compare it to name brands from japan. Cant see the difference except price. Has solid receive and transmit distance is decent. If you get a better antenna of course you will see a improvement. Feels good in your hand and the battery holds up vary well. Thought it would feel and look cheap for the price, It Exceeds my expectations. When i step out side i can hit most of the repeaters full quieting... A keeper...
1 helpful vote
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on April 20, 2016
You know when you buy a Ham radio, you expect to pay money for it. I have in the past owned nothing but Yeasu radios. Handhelds and mobiles. I never use my mobile in my vehicle, in fact I haven't had it on in very long time so I decided to part with it. It was a dual band so I wanted still to have a dual band radio. I saw this and thought "well I can't lose anything trying it". I love this little radio. It's every bit as good as the others I've had in the past. Quick to charge, holds it's charge well and hits all my local repeaters that my Vertex handhelds struggle to hit. The audio quality is comparable with the other handhelds that cost much higher. I used it for a couple of weeks with the stock antenna that comes with the radio. It worked admirably. I purchased an aftermarket antenna for the radio and it's made a fantastic increase in what it is capable of (ExpertPower XP-771). All in all for the money you pay for this radio, it's worth way more. If it breaks it's cheap to replace. Only major issue is the programming of the radio. Not super hard but fiddly. The addition of a programming cable and using the free Chirp software makes things so much easier.

So as someone who needs a radio for emergency purposes (Storm chasing, Emergency Management) would I recommend this radio, I'd give a resounding yes. Don't buy one.. Buy two. At this price having a spare is more than affordable.
1 helpful vote
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on August 7, 2015
This little radio will give you the most bang for your buck of any portable radio on the market, period. Not only is it dual-band, which was almost unheard of with portable radios, but it's light, the battery life is excellent to outstanding, and the price is UNBEATABLE. Yes, they do require some knowledge regarding how to operate them, but there are lots of great Youtube videos demonstrating how to use them. Once programmed, using them is very simple, not much more difficult than a CB radio.

If/when I want two-way communication with other family members, I will simply buy extra radios and use them outside of the traditional HAM bands (144 and 440 mghz). Yes, this is technically faux pas, but the hammers can't come down on you if you're not operating in their ranges. Doing it this way, you can easily get double the range of a FRS/GMRS radio.

I highly recommend that you replace the stock antenna with a 'duckie', a longer, flexible one that will greatly increase reception quality.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on March 1, 2013
As a licensed radio amateur operator, it is refreshing to find a low cost handy talky that competes with the big guys who sell the same basic units for 200 to 300 dollars more. It's about time Yaesu, Kenwood, Alinco etc. got a viable and logically priced competitor. The only problem I am experiencing is the difficulty in programming the radio. It is a very complicated procedure. A knowledgeable amateur who knows how to program it should be hired to do a step by step, easy to understand instructional manual The reception and audio on the unit is remarkably clear. A great buy but too sketchy in their setup procedure. I have since found a video on YouTube where a knowledgeable amateur does the step by step procedure.
Tom Glover WA2RVU
16 helpful votes
17 helpful votes
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